Every morning before I leave my apartment and head to work, I mentally flip a coin. Marcy Ave JMZ or Bedford Ave L train. Even though more often than not taking the L results in a wretched experience of too many people, skipped stops…essentially discomfort and delays, I do it; I give myself both options.
Those times when the L train isn’t packed and runs smoothly. When the JMZ, an elevated station, has me waiting in the cold for an inordinate amount of time. It’s these incidents, these exceptions and examples of unreliability, which result in my overall distrust of the system.
Am I going to do anything about it? Uh. No.
We all learn to pick our battles. And changing the New York metro system isn’t one I can even begin to imagine engaging in. Nor do I have any desire to do so.
I’m perfectly comfortable knowing that there are others whose capabilities far exceed mine in an endless amount of pursuits and ways. In fact, I seek out and surround myself with those kinds of people. Not that I leech. I contribute to my surroundings. But I’ve learned that if I consistently challenge myself and in doing so discover my strengths and weaknesses, I have a better sense of where my time and efforts will bring effect.
I’m sure the news of recent and ongoing horrific events happening around our world, which no doubt all of us are considering and responding to in our own way, has something to do with this thinking. Even little things like seeing my friends change their Facebook profile image to read Je Suis Charlie or receiving petitions calling for Obama’s public apology for his physical absence from the protest…
I have no epiphanies to share with you.
But I will repeat and end with the prescient words of someone I had the privilege of working with several years ago. It’s a call to action and a reminder to ourselves as we go about our day to day lives, doing what we do–whatever that is.
“What most of us must be involved in–whether we teach or write, make films, write films, direct films, play music, act, whatever we do–has to not only make people feel good and inspired and at one with other people around them, but also has to educate a new generation to do this very modest thing: change the world.”
― Howard Zinn, Artists in Times of War and Other Essays